Dr. Monica Mhoja Edutainment Centre (MoMEC) is a volunteer run, NGO-social enterprise composed of artists who strive to educate society on gender based violence, legal and human rights issues through arts. MoMEC’s aim is to create and show educational movies/short films/documentaries in schools, households and communities to stimulate conversation and change perspectives about these issues.
MoMEC’s current focus is on child/ forced marriage and its consequences. According to the 2010 Demographic Health Survey, 37% of women in Tanzania between the ages of 20-24 were married before reaching the age of 18. MoMEC is committed to saving children from harmful tradition by giving them a voice through arts and supporting them through going back to school or economic empowerment projects in collaboration with Agape Aids Control Programme.
The short film depicts the disadvantaged position of a child-widow in negotiating her rights regarding the violence perpetrated against her. It is a call for society to stop child-marriage. We are striving to change attitudes towards child-marriage and produce lasting change in Tanzania generally and Shinyanga in particular.
Steps taken and progress
The initial step was writing script of child-widows’ stories.
Then casting – getting excellent actors and actress from Shinyanga and Dar es Salaam. Thereafter, we had a team for searching good locations and logistics for transportation, accommodation and food.
We started filming Holo, part of the story of two child-widows which was in Shinyanga whilst creating awareness on the impact of child-marriage. This was done in corroboration with Paralegal Center Shinyanga’s drama group. Shinyanga has the highest rate of child-marriage in Tanzania (59% of girls are married before their 18th birthday), shooting here with a drama group in Shinyanga was all the more poignant.
The main challenge was shortening our short film, we intended to have two stories of child-widows. However, the part of Holo which was filmed in Shinyanga had a lot of technical problems especially on sound. We decided to continue with the Voice of Kunese which was filmed in Vumilia Ukooni in Kigamboni and is on final editing. Lesson learnt, the biggest problem of many independent filmmakings is the sound. However, Kunese voice must be heard.